In a pathetic attempt to deflect outrage about their efforts to abolish Medicare, Republicans are grasping at straws. Leader Pelosi strongly opposes benefit cuts and the Republican plan–as she stated during the House floor debate of the Republican budget:
Medicare is a core value of our social compact with the American people, yet this budget shreds that contract, which is part of the strength of our country. The Republican proposal breaks the promise that our country has made to our seniors, that after a lifetime of work they will be able to depend on Medicare to protect them in retirement. This plan, the Republican plan, ends Medicare as we know it and dramatically reduces benefits for seniors. It forces them to pay more, to buy their insurance from the health insurance companies, where the average senior would be forced to pay twice as much for half of the benefits.
And on Bloomberg this afternoon, Leader Pelosi reiterated her strong opposition saying, “let me be very clear…one suggestion we are not open to is the abolishment of Medicare”:
Mark Crumpton (Bloomberg):
Are you willing to put real Medicare changes on the table, for example increasing the retirement age?
When we’re talking about Medicare, let me be very clear because we are open to many-we’re listening to every suggestion-but one suggestion we are not open to is the abolishment of Medicare and that’s what the Republicans have put forth in their budget and we do not support that. Every initiative that we have where federal dollars are spent must be subjected to scrutiny to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth and the public is well served. But abolishing Medicare, that is not on the table.
Democrats have a plan to ensure older Americans have access to affordable, high quality care – it’s called Medicare and it currently serves more than 46 million Americans. The Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare, and just last week, Leader Pelosi challenged Republicans to listen to the American people and join with Democrats to preserve and extend Medicare’s solvency.
Democrats created Medicare; we have sustained it for generations; we are working to strengthen, not end it.
PS: For those inclined towards linguistic cartwheels see Matt Yglesias today in a post entitled “Yes, The House GOP Voted To End Medicare”:
“Medicare” refers to a single-payer universal health insurance program instituted by the Social Security Act of 1965. If a political movement committed to having that program “wither on the vine” and die puts forward a bill to abolish that program and replace it with a system of private vouchers, then it doesn’t matter whether or not the voucher program is still called Medicare. That’s what House Republicans voted to do, and there’s nothing even slightly misleading about calling this an effort to end Medicare. What’s misleading is the effort to use nomenclature to obscure the nature of the change.